I have a background layer (gray in the example) and on top of that a foreground layer with black line art. I converted the line art to a path (using Path -> Trace Bitmap).

person's legs in front of a fence

How do I prevent the background from shining through, like in the example? Clearly you should not see the fence through the person.

I made an new layer, manually traced the outline of the foreground (person), and put that shape in the "shine through protection" layer. That kind of works, until I change / move / resize the foreground picture. So I am wondering if there is an easier / better way of doing this.

I cannot just select a white fill because the traced path is on the drawn lines, not the area included by these lines. The picture below shows a red fill and black stroke for the foot:

enter image description here

So maybe I am doing the tracing wrong.

  • 2
    .....add a white fill to the shape.
    – Scott
    Sep 18, 2015 at 3:07
  • @Scott that does not help because the shape is not the whole drawing but instead the traced lines in the drawing.
    – Robert
    Sep 18, 2015 at 19:49
  • 1
    Then draw a new shape that has a white fill and place it between things. It's either that or remove the lines you don't want visible.
    – Scott
    Sep 18, 2015 at 19:52
  • Why the downvotes? Is this an obvious beginner's question? I'm thankful for any pointers to tutorials or even good search terms.
    – Robert
    Sep 19, 2015 at 2:07
  • Can you please try one of @Scott two suggestions (removing unwanted nodes or adding a white shape below )? You'll get a better answer if you show some effort to solve the problem on your own and your specific issues. Sep 19, 2015 at 12:47

2 Answers 2


For this type of workflow, I find the easiest solution is to just manually draw masking shapes (in this case, solid white) and place them under the foreground art, then group.


Depending on what you're going to be doing with your Inkscape artwork version you might want to consider avoiding auto trace.

If you intend tweaking your lines at all then you'll be frustrated at the number of nodes involved. Instead, if you quickly redraw lines with "proper" lines you'll naturally place the nodes where required and additional tweaking is much more productive.

I haven't got Inkscape to hand but I think the paint bucket tool will do a decent job of creating vector shapes from bitmap sources. If Inkscape supported tracing centrelines you'd also gain more options.

Even with your outline traced path it's worth duplicating and path combining (union?) which, when dropped below the trace can be used as your new vector ground.

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